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Celebrating International Women's Day All Month Long

We see incredible things happen when women get behind the community and have been fortunate to collaborate with some very inspirational women in the past year. 

We are delighted to celebrate them this iconic month and share their success story, the driving force behind their achievements and the women that have been most inspirational to them! 

Here's to strong women!

May we know them, may we be them and may we raise them!

Janice Wong @janicewong2am

Chef Janice Wong started her first dessert restaurant, 2am:dessertbar, in Singapore in 2007. In 2014, the Janice Wong Singapore brand was formally established to market a wide range of confectionery products, including custom chocolate bon bons, cakes and ice-cream.

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream?

To pursue what one can’t imagine oneself to achieve. Dreams are meant to go bigger as long as there’s imagination.

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

My dad, who never failed to encourage me to pursue what I love and not to be afraid to fail.

Maya Patnaik @felizpapilles

Maya Patnaik is the founder & chef of Feliz Papilles, whose expertise lies in catering to dietary restrictions using freshest seasonal produce & high quality ingredients creating delicious sweet & savoury foods.

What has been your biggest driving force to achieve your dream?

I have a constant need to improve and grow and it is symbiotic with being a professional Chef. We are often our own harshest critics, and so with every recipe and preparation, I am constantly looking to push the envelope, evolve and improve upon my work.

I want to use my passion for the Culinary Arts to make a societal difference. It is my dream not only to build a differentiated artisanal business but also to use it as a platform to provide employment opportunities and empower people from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds and different abilities to thrive in the F&B industry. 

 

Who/What has been your biggest inspiration in your (professional) life?

I have been very fortunate to have always been surrounded by strong and aspirational women including my mother, paternal grandmother and the brilliant women from Smith College, my alma mater. 

It’s difficult to single out only one person, but I would like to highlight Julia Child, the renowned chef, cookbook author, TV star and Smith College and Le Cordon Bleu alumnus. She was a trailblazer. She was one of the first women to host her own TV series,The French Chef and is credited with changing the way Americans perceive food. She demystified fine food by making it accessible, paving the way for millions to expand their culinary horizons. She was a role model to many in a myriad of ways. She inspired me to take a leap of faith and switch careers from Advertising to pursue my passion for food and the culinary arts.

Shalu Asnani is the Founder/Chef Little Green Kitchen. A vegetarian cooking instructor, private chef, food consultant, food writer, blogger and advocate of all things healthy, tasty and environmentally friendly.

 

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

My dream is to be a successful vegetarian chef and my biggest driving force has been the perception that plant-based cuisine cannot be tasty, healthy, satisfying etc. My goal is to change this perception by celebrating vegetables for what they are, elevating dishes through modern techniques and using Asian herbs and spices to accentuate flavours.


Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

I am mostly a cooking instructor and am constantly inspired by my students who are forever enthusiastic, open-minded and cook with so much love and passion. They inspire me to keep reinventing myself and I am grateful to be part of their journey as they discover new ways of plant-based cooking.

 

Shireena Shroff Manchharam @shireenasm

Shireena is the founder and principal consultant of Sheens Image Consulting. She is also the founder of Getting to Happy TM.

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

My biggest driving force has been my family. My parents were always so supportive and encouraging from the time I was a child, and my husband also stands behind every one of my ideas and gives me the confidence to try anything.

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

My biggest inspiration has been my maternal grandmother who was a successful business woman in the field of beauty and skin care decades ago in India. She was also an author and an amazing mother, grandmother and great grandmother. My inspiration is also my daughter Lara who is 12, who I believe is one of the most confident, independent and strong little girls I know.

Riyana Rupani @healthyishandhappy

Riyana Rupani is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (NTP), Certified Whole30 Coach and founder of the Clean in 15 ™

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

Helping others. I am lucky to be in a space where I can directly impact individuals in one of the most important areas of their life. Their health. I can't tell you how empowering and immensely gratifying it is to be a part of so many individual transformations.

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

From my teenage years till my 30s life was full of pressure, stress, and constant hustle both professionally and personally. I didn't understand the consequences of my choices until I found myself suffering from multiple health issues including infertility. Fast forward a few years, I was lucky to be able to turn my health around through real food and lifestyle changes. I have 3 beautiful children and am in the best health of my life. This is my driving force to help others understand and be able to do the same.

Mandira Lalvani @mannafromoven

Mandira Lalvani is a celebrity host and founder of Manna from Oven.

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

The biggest driving force to achieving my dream has been the simple fact that I can’t sit still! COVID and its never ending lockdowns brought with it the inability to travel- so I had no choice but to firmly put down my roots, roll up my sleeves and get to work! I was lucky that so many people encouraged me and enjoyed the food that now goes from my kitchen to theirs.

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

Undeniably the key women in my life. My mother, my sister, my grandmother and my late aunt. Each of these women are forces to reckon with in the kitchen- I never saw myself as a part of this powerhouse and I can only attribute whatever little I can do, to the genes they’ve blessed me with! And then the unfailing generosity of my friends- who have shared with me, their family recipes, hacks & shortcuts and what not! 

 

So, each thing on my menu has a story and each story has with it a powerful memory that is brought alive every single time it’s made and eaten.. Isn’t that just the most wonderful tribute to this remarkable tribe!

Marian Aguilar @catacoffee

Venezuelan Marian Aguilar  is the founder of Singapore- based independent coffee roastery Cata Coffee, with a focus on producing quality-driven coffee. 

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

I have this desire to solve problems and make things right when I see something that needs to be improved – it is an innate drive that keeps me working on different projects with wonderful and very inspiring people.

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

I am inspired every day by the artistry and craft that I observe around me. I admire people that create, design, and produce things with their hands. So, I am constantly looking for inspiration sources from good films or books, or just a casual and random conversation.

If I have to name someone, my biggest inspiration would be my parents. They inspire me with their humanity and strength, and I wouldn’t be here today without their influence and support. 

  

Nermine Mansour @cheznermine

Nermine Mansour is an  Egyptian-American content creator, the founder of "Chez Nermine" food blog and staunch advocate for Egyptian cuisine.

 

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

My main driving force has always been challenging the narrative about Egyptian cuisine, unlocking its potential, and placing it front and center on the culinary map. I hope that ten years from now, my kids will be proud of what I have accomplished to honour our Egyptian roots. 

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

I am inspired by Julia Child, the U.S renown cookbook writer and food icon, who single-handedly changed the face of American cuisine back in the sixties and seventies. I tell every woman, you have a unique gift, and it is never too early or too late to share it with the world. 

My mantra is GO BIG OR GO HOME.

 

Hayedeh @hayedeh.kitchen

Chef Hayedeh is a Singapore based Persian chef.

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

The driving force for me is wanting to be successful. 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

I’m inspired by my late grandmother, she taught me to be patient.

Cindy Castro Vega @mamacitas8413

Cindy is the founder and chef of Mamacitas Catering, serving authentic Costa Rican cuisine.

​​What has been your biggest driving force to achieving your dream ?

I always had a dream and focused my desires in that direction since my first child was born. The love and happiness brought to me by my three children Hillary, Esmeralda and Sean are always my pillars. It makes me feel a combination of bravery, anger and strength that drives ambition to follow what I have always been focused on, which is a happy, healthy and of course luxurious life. With all of my ambition I believe I made way for a prosperous future for my family. I work with a lot of passion, euphoria. I fight for what I want and I always achieve it. I have successfully provided for the three of them. Everything I do is and will be for the future of my children

 

Who / what has been the biggest inspiration in your life ?

When I got pregnant I was only 18 years old. I went through many stages and I had to make decisions quickly at my young age. I fought against the stereotype of a pregnant teenager and the cultural and religious consequences of a third world culture like my country. They were the hardest and most difficult moments of my life. The sorrow and guilt of disappointing and shaming my family weighed heavily on me. I finally decided to keep my pregnancy and fell in love with my baby girl which I named Hillary Nicole. I promised her we would make out to be everything that I am today. 

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